talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's not easy going green

While cleaning out closets, I ran across a number of Grandma's old linens. I decided that to honor her gifts of vintage aprons, handkerchiefs, napkins, and flour sack towels, we'd start using them regularly. Quitting Clorox wipes, paper towels, AND napkins together-- cold turkey-- seemed like more than I could handle, though. Instead, I decided to phase these consumable items out as we used up our already-purchased back stock.

Paper towels were the first to go, and they were actually remarkably easy to do without. I was ready with a number of cheap terry washcloths, and once I use them a time or so I simply pitch them down the basement stairs to be walked to the laundry room next time I'm headed downstairs for something else. No problem!

Today we ran out of paper napkins, though. Now, as much as I enjoy the substantive feeling of a cloth napkin in my lap, it still feels weird not to have any paper napkins to distribute before meals, and I find myself worrying that I could never have enough cloth napkins to hold me over until I get enough down-time to do laundry without the girls cavorting around in the basement with me. And as I've already mentioned in earlier posts, we try to avoid that due to the basement's basic ick factor.

Fiona looked quizzical the first time I handed her a folded green fabric square instead of a paper napkin, but after that she was fine. Nora, on the other hand, is somewhat convinced that the cloth napkins are head scarves or mealtime peekaboo accessories. That would be fine, except that as far as Nora is concerned, the next step for napkins (as for most things) is to lob them to the floor with a gleeful whoop. Looks like we have more work ahead of us than simply becoming more ecologically friendly...


At 12:44 AM, Blogger mikeho said...

We have made some effort to move in the direction of reusable instead of disposable, in the areas of washcloths instead of paper towels, and cloth diapers instead of disposable. However, we've found it hard to go 100%. For example, we use washcloths to clean up after the kids, and shirt sleeves to wipe our own mouths, but still have a roll of paper towels for the stuff that you wouldn't want to wipe up and send through the wash. Likewise for diapers, we use cloth during the day, and disposable at night, because they hold more and save us from having to wash the sheets every morning.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Deborah said...

So which is less objectionable? Littering the landfill with paper waste, or depleting the water supply and sending phosphates into the environment with all the extra laundry from using cloth?

As far as the eco-heads are concerned, the ideal situation is for humans not to exist at all.

At 12:47 AM, Blogger Jen said...

Yes, good point. We've talked about that coin toss too, but averages show that each American uses around 2,200 paper napkins per year. Whoa! I'm still learning about my ecological footprint, but we already had the napkins and handkerchiefs as family heirlooms, so for us it made more sense to start using them than to find room to store them (and then buy more paper stuff).

I do have simple composting (maybe even vermicomposting? Fun!) on my wish list for this summer, though, and also would like to introduce some more durable goods to our household like reusable shopping bags. I'm trying to talk the library into imprinting bags from, for example. If I'm going to buy them anyhow, I'd prefer the library logo on them!

They're baby steps, admittedly. We couldn't afford the initial outlay for cloth diapers for our first child, then couldn't justify the cost for our last-- especially with no local diaper service to easily sell them back to later-- but I do have hope that even little things can make some sort of impact.


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